One of Paul Windle’s illustrated gifs is a bit of a portal into his introduction to the arts. Titled You Red to Shred? it begins with a normal office shredder before a skateboarder tootles over and then someone jumps up and shreds on the guitar. “My interest in illustration came through skateboarding,” the illustrator explains. “I started when I was 13 and that opened me up to a whole visual culture of skate graphics magazines and videos.”
Originally from Arlington in Texas, Paul studied at the school of graphic design in his home city where “two kinds of majors kind of equipped me to be a decent zine maker,” he explains. “I was really into them and made zines for a lot of my school projects. Essentially I majored in zines!” The soon-to-be illustrator moved to Brooklyn after graduating and Paul says on reflection, “I think I made most of my friends through trading zines and tabling with Rand Renfrow at the New York Art Book fair each year. A lot of illustration jobs have stemmed from sending out zines and being at the book fair. I guess I’d say that book fair has been one of my main entry points into illustration. God bless you NY Art Book Fair!” In a nice turn of events, it was also via a magazine that we found Paul while looking at the latest issue of Clay Hickson and Liana Jegers’ newspaper The Smudge — always a good sign.
Now based in Los Angeles Paul works at Bad People, a studio and gallery space that he shares and operates with friends. There Paul creates an amalgamation of line driven, highly coloured illustrations — his inspirations include Tadanori Yokoo, Seymour Chwast, Alec Soth and Miranda July — for various publications and clients. “I’m interested in narrative-based work and making images and animations that feel like you’re flipping through tv channels, then you land on a channel and you don’t know exactly what’s happening in the particular movie or show, so you’re left to draw your own conclusions,” he explains. What Paul means by this more concisely is that he “likes things that are open-ended,” and often thinks of creating illustrations as a bit like following a recipe. “Like if you add enough sadness to an image it becomes funny, or if you make something ridiculous enough it can be a metaphor for something really serious,” he explains. Working digitally is additionally how the illustrator creates most of his work, “it’s easy to add and remove things,” he says. Arguably the perfect medium for Paul, his portfolio jumps between stills, looping hypnotic gifs and full length and fully brilliant animations.
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